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None of them modern man-made marvels really impress me. If anything, I am appalled and quite resentful to the fact that the construction of these buildings creates industrial wastes that jeopardize our planet. What’s bothering me still is that they don’t stop at building big ones. They always aspire to build bigger buildings. Construction of bigger buildings means more wastes are produced. And the thought of how they usually and irresponsibly manage these wastes sickens me to my stomach.
This is where my fascination for ancient megastructures (or structures in general) comes in. Not only are they exquisitely and extraordinarily majestic but they are also environment-friendly. It impresses me greatly that the materials they used to build these giant wonders were ‘organic’ and naturally didn’t produce any wastes that had damaging effects on our planet. Of course the argument here is that the materials we have today weren’t available then. But, is it not possible to employ these same organic materials now?
I mean these ancient buildings can stand just as long if not longer than our modern infrastructures. The physical aspects of these sites are just as awe-inspiring as the stories behind them. Just the mere sight or sometimes the sheer mention of the building brings awe to some people. Nowadays, you never hear stories of love or anything that is not politically or purely-business motivated behind any great (modern) structure.
Why can’t we build things like these ancient wonders anymore? Yeah, yeah. I know. I know. T’was a rhetorical question. I’m completely aware that we can’t really continue doing things the way our ancestors used to. Understandably, every thing on Earth has to evolve at some point. I just wish that as we gain more knowledge and become more scientifically and technologically advanced, we also develop greater care for our environment which unfortunately, we don’t.
Anyhow, I got the inspiration to do this blog after I finished following ‘Ancient Megastructures’ series on National Geographic. There have been times when I seriously considered becoming an architect. The architecture and engineering of each structure are so magnificent and grand and often times genius (considering the technology and knowledge they had back then) and I just can’t help but go wow each and every time. These sites can literally take your breath away. I always thought if I could just build something as beautiful as that, then I could die a happy person.
I was truly amazed and so inspired that after the series ended, I decided that I should make it a point to visit at least a few of them. Modern and highly-industrialized cities (like New York or Tokyo) never really attracted me to begin with anyway. Perhaps, I can just spend my money on rediscovering these true wonders and learn more about them and go deeper into the history and culture behind them and just be in total amazement. I guess that would be money well spent, agree?
For the record: I am not a foreigner in my own land. As a matter of fact, I have been to our very own world wonder, the Banaue Rice Terraces, twice. So before you accuse me of not patronizing what my own country can offer, think again. This is a guy who has been all over the Philippines, from down south Mindanao to as far as Ilocos Norte. I can actually approximate that I have been to at least 50 cities from 25 different provinces. Not bad, eh?
So here it is now. The list I have come up with. Hopefully, I will be able to visit a couple of them before the year ends. The rest, I vow to one day visit them at any point in my life.
WONDERS OF THE WORLD
The modern name, Angkor Wat, means “City Temple”; Angkor is a vernacular form of the word នគរ nokor which comes from the Sanskrit word नगर nagara meaning capital or city. wat is the Khmer word for temple.
Central Java, Indonesia
The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.
The Alhambra (literally “the red one”), the complete form of which was Calat Alhambra (“the red fortress”), is a palace and fortress complex constructed during the mid 14th century by the Moorish rulers of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus.
The earliest remains of Persepolis date from around 515 BCE. To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Pārsa, which means “The City of Persians”. Persepolis is the Greek interpretation of the name Πέρσης πόλις (Persēs polis: “Persian city”).
The mosque was to be built on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors, facing the Hagia Sophia (at that time the most venerated mosque in Istanbul) and the hippodrome, a site of great symbolic significance.
Ma’an Governorate, Jordan
It was described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” in a Newdigate Prize-winning sonnet by John William Burgon. Petra was chosen by the BBC as one of “the 40 places you have to see before you die”.
Urubamba Valley, Peru
Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”, it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World.
The Maya name “Chich’en Itza” means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza.” This derives from chi’, meaning “mouth” or “edge”, and ch’e’en, meaning “well.”
The Taj Mahal (“the Taj”; means “crown of buildings” in Urdu) is a mausoleum and was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal is considered to be the finest example of Mughal architecture.
El Giza, Egypt
It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops in Greek) and constructed over a 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC.
The Acropolis is a flat-topped rock that rises 150 m (490 ft) above sea level in the city of Athens, with a surface area of about 3 hectares. It was also known as Cecropia, after the legendaryserpent-man, Cecrops, the first Athenian king.
Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.
PS: I will most likely add some more. They will be included in the Part 2 of the series. Need to do more research.